Ubiquitous corruption, kickbacks, percentages in every transaction, unchallenged misuse of public funds, gifting away of irrigation projects to contractors, mind-blowing corruption in road projects.These are the achievements of Chandrababu Naidu in the last few years. This was not an assessment of any opposition party but the annual report of the annual report submitted by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) about “who is 420 in AP”, Mr. Chandrababu Naidu.
The Story as It Unfolds
The CAG’s report, which was extremely critical of Chandrababu Naidu’s corrupt governance, has highlighted several irregularities in Naidu’s administration. For instance, it has pointed out that the government did not use the central funds allocated for the development of Amaravati and submitted false accounts to the center. Though JNNURM funds were lapsing, the government did not make any effort to utilize them, said the report.
Highlights of the Report – Pattiseema The Legal Plunder
The CAG took some serious objection to the manner in which the TDP government colluded with the contractors to make huge kickbacks. It was faulted with the contractors for taking up the Pattiseema lift irrigation scheme without any prior plan, without starting the works of the Polavaram right canal distributaries and without identifying the domestic and industrial beneficiaries.
This thoughtless move of the government had benefitted the contractor to the tune of Rs.372.02 Crore, said the report, and highlighted the face of who is 420 in AP. The report made it clear that the entire Pattiseema exercise became futile as it could not benefit the intended beneficiaries. In 2015, the AP government claimed that it wants to offer the benefits of the Polavaram project in advance by completing the Pattiseema scheme, a no storage project.
Diving Deep In the Process
According to the tender notification, the estimated cost of the scheme, the final price was Rs.1,170.25 crore. According to GO 94, the government must not award the tender to contractors who quote more than 5% excess of the estimated budget.
However, in Pattaseema tenders, Megha had quoted 21.99% extra, and yet it got the contract from the crony who is 420 in AP. To make this possible, the government converted the remaining 16.99% as a bonus for completing the work within a year’s time. This bonus clause was a total humbug since the tender notification itself had a one-year deadline for the project. Despite such an explicit rule, the government made it an excuse to benefit Megha to the tune of Rs.199 Crore. Chandrababu changed the tender rules to grant benefits to his favored company.
Due to this decision, the government had to increase the estimated cost of the project, the CAG report stated. The report also noted that another favor worth Rs106.17 crore was also extended to Megha in the pump house construction even though there was no change in the basic parameters. The explanation given by the Water Resources Department was unacceptable, said the auditing body, thus highlighting the scams of “who is 420 in AP.”
Besides the benefit mentioned above, Megha had received some more benefits in the pump house contract. Though the center has waived the excise tax on the pipes used for irrigation and drinking water projects, the AP government paid Rs32.01 crore as excise tax reimbursement to Megha. Another 14.22 crore was spent in the name of workers’ welfare tax.
The company brought down the capacity of motors and pipes, but this cutback in the project did not reflect in the project estimated. But the cost and the bargain, the contractor made another Rs.20.62 crore. In total, the AP government extended undue benefits to the extent of Rs.372.20 crore to Megha, concluded the CAG report.
Rs. 14.33 Crore against Rules
There were several irregularities in rent payments to the helicopters that were used by Chandrababu Naidu, according to the CAG report. During 2014-2015 alone. Chandrababu Naidu (who is 420 in AP), used the private helicopters and paid Rs.14.33 crore towards the expenses. These payments were highly unnecessary and the amount to an irregularity, the report said.
Top Highlights of the CAG Report
- The State government agreed with the M/s Saras Aviation Pvt. Ltd. in September of 2014 to use a minimum of 100 flying hours a month of single or twin-engine helicopters for five years. The minimum monthly fee was Rs.25 lakh.
- Saras Aviation was selected by the government arbitrarily without following any competitive bidding process. While finalizing the agreement, there was no formal assessment as to the need for flying hours per month. The company could not submit relevant files for auditing to the national auditing body.
Corrupt government practices had swallowed the entire state while Chandrababu Naidu brought these unfair practices under his regime. The individual in question had made several instances where he preferred money over the common people and hence has rightly earned the title, “who is 420 in AP.”
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